Hussein Ibish: “We Should Disagree Respectfully”, Part 2 With A Correction


[Ikhras Note: Given Hussein Ibish’s lack of credibility and seriousness among Arab-Americans, his inability to have the slightest impact on Arab-American thought or debate, and the almost total lack of response his writings elicit from the community we have revised our previous post and substituted “Arab-Americans that do not share his political views” for “his critics.”]

In our previous post, Hussein Ibish: “We Should Disagree Respectfully” we incorrectly referred to Ibish “disagreeing respectfully” & engaging in “polite, calm & reasoned conversations” with “his critics.” We should note that several of the names mentioned are actually not critics of Ibish at all. It would be more accurate to say that the remarks we collected and published below serve as examples of the way Ibish himself disagrees with people of whom he is the critic.  Columbia University ProfessorJoseph Massad, for example, has never mentioned him in any article, spoke of him in any public forum, or engaged him in any online interactive medium. Likewise, Palestinian-American author and activist Ali Abunimah has also never been a critic of Ibish and we were unable to find a single instance in which Abunimah mentioned him in any article or public forum. As for California State University ProfessorAs’ad Abukhalil we did locate a single blog entry from 2006 in which Professor Abukhalil does reply to Ibish. It’s the only time we’re aware of that Professor Abukhalil mentions him, and to us it appeared he did so only in the context of making a larger point about the “Myth of the Arab lobby.”  We do recommend reading it, not only does it provide yet another example of how Ibish wears civility like cheap makeup that quickly disappears with the slightest challenge, but it’s also very funny.

During our extensive research and collection of Ibish’s gems we discovered this lack of engagement has been a source of frustration for him for years, and it seemed to have finally bubbled over in 2009 after he uploaded a PDF file (Hussein calls it a book) to the American Task Force On Palestine (ATFP) website, the two-man shop that functions as the Arab-wing of the pro-Israel lobby and at which he is the Senior Fellow. The 138-page PDF file amounted to an extended attack on advocates of a unified, decolonized Palestine and defenders of the Palestinian right of return. After it became clear Hussein’s “book” was being ignored and will not elicit any response or debate within the Arab-American community he grew increasingly angry and followed it up with this outburst:

It is striking that the most ardent and tenacious one-state advocates seem to be taking a great deal of their time in even starting to formulate answers to these questions. Assad AbuKhalil, who comments on anything and everything on his blog, has remained strangely silent. Ali Abunimah, who is surely the most ardent and prolific one-state proponent in the United States, and who also runs a well-read blog, also appears at a loss for words. Even the overgrown juvenile delinquents at the Kabobfest blog, who have exhibited signs of suffering from a cybersphere version of Tourette’s syndrome, are also strangely passing up what would seem to be a golden opportunity to repeat their usual accusations about “traitors” and “collaborators.” I have no doubt that sooner or later a response, and hopefully a calm and thoughtful one, will be forthcoming from some of the committed one-state advocates. But the amount of time it is taking for them to offer any sort of answer to these extremely relevant questions suggests, perhaps, that they are proving difficult to formulate and quite possibly were not anticipated.

By looking back at his writings and tracing his political trajectory it’s clearly apparent Ibish’s PDF file marked a watershed moment in his transformation into a right-wing, neocon & collaborator with racist, Zionist groups. It’s also clear his political transformation was accompanied by a drastic change in personal temper and a moral downward spiral which continues unabated. His venomous attacks on any and all Arab-Americans that refuse to follow his lead or engage him in serious debate have been relentless.  When Ibish does take a break from attacking Arab-Americans it’s usually to offer them lectures on civility and pragmatism all the while exhorting them to join the US political “mainstream.” Ibish’s failure to provoke any serious debate surrounding his writings, let alone his inability to convince Arab-Americans to don a tuxedo, attend an ATFP “gala”, and adopt his model of self-debasing “political activism” goes a long way in explaining why he finds it necessary to keep “disagreeing respectfully” with a community that never considered him worthy of its time or attention.  Hussein, however, can console himself knowing that we at ikhras promise to never ignore him.

Visit ikhras to learn more about Hussein Ibish and the ATFP